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NEWS | Dec. 7, 2016

Top Things You Need to Know about Zika Virus

628th Medical Group

1.       Zika virus

The Zika virus is a mosquito-borne disease that causes minor illness in most people.  Symptoms can include fever, rash, muscle and joint pain, red eyes, and headache. Illness usually lasts for several days to a week.In pregnant women, Zika infection can cause microcephaly. 

2.       How is Zika spread?

While Zika virus spreads through the bite of an infected mosquito, it can be spread sexually.  If you or your partner returns from an area with active Zika transmission, the CDC recommends waiting to get pregnant. Check the most up to date recommendations at http://www.cdc.gov/zika/.

3.       Where is Zika virus found?

The following States and U.S. Territories have reported locally acquired cases: Florida, Texas, American Samoa, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. To date, no locally acquired cases have been reported in South Carolina.  

4.       How to protect yourself from becoming infected?

The best way to prevent infection is to avoid mosquitos while in areas with active transmission. If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend delaying travel to areas with active transmission.  If you must travel, the following is recommended:

a.      Staying inside during dawn, dusk and early evening (peak biting hours).

b.      Choose a hotel or lodging with air conditioning or ensure windows and doors are properly covered with screens.

Important: Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are outside or in a room that is not screened well. 

c.       Use EPA-registered insect repellent containing DEET, Picaridin or IR3535.  These are safe for pregnant women when used as directed.

d.      Treating clothing and equipment with permethrin

 

5.       What should you do if you are planning travel to a Zika endemic area?

If you plan to travel to an area with known Zika virus, contact Public Health at 843-963-6962 for the AB or for the NWS contact the Naval Health Clinic Charleston at 843-794-6571.  You can also check the CDC’s website for the latest Zika virus information.